STOCKHOLM – Denmark needed someone to come up big and Morten Green did not disappoint. Green's overtime goal was the difference maker in a 3-2 win for Denmark over Slovenia.
Both teams came into the game looking for their first tournament victory having lost their first two. For Denmark the third game would be the charm with Green serving as the catalyst for the win.
Slovenia started Robert Kristan in goal again. This was his third straight starting appearance here in Stockholm. Danish netminder Nielson was making his second start in three games.
Rok Ticar scored his first of goal here in Stockholm at 6:11 of the first to put Slovenia up 1-0. Blaz Gregorc’s point shot was redirected by Ticar past Nielsen. Mitja Robar received the second assist.
Previously, Ticar scored three goals for Slovenia at the 2011 World Championships. Ticar’s line played well throughout, generating the best chances for his team today and, perhaps, in the tournament.
Kim Staal evened the score at 3:34. Staal turned on the jets and drove to the net sending a shot on goal that Kristan could not stop.
"I could see the defenceman standing up and that Morten was looking for a hole behind him," said Staal. "I skated a little harder than the defenceman and did what I had to do. I got a bit of a lucky bounce. Someone told me my last goal was in 2009, so it felt good, for sure."
Indeed for Staal it was his first goal since the 2009 World Championship. He’d gone 16 games without a goal in the tournament despite representing Denmark in 2010 and 2011.
A power play goal in the middle frame by Ticar would restore the Slovenian lead with Morten Madsen in the box for elbowing. It was Ticar’s second of the game coming at 14:41.
Robar and Gregorc picked up their second assist each in the game.
Denmark would not go away. They clawed their way back as Morten Madsen made up for the penalty he took that led to Slovenia’s second goal.
Madsen scored in front of the net making it 2-2 at 5:58. Staal added his second point of the game with an assist on the goal. Jesper B. Jensen also added an assist.
Denmark would keep pressing late in the period, trying to keep the pressure on Slovenia. Inside of five minutes remaining Slovenia would also add some quality chances as well but the game would go to overtime tied at two.
"They had a lot of momentum in the last five minutes of the third period, but we came back twice so we stayed positive and believed we could score for a third time," said Staal. "We made it."
That third goal would come in the critical extra session.
The overtime started slow but finally at 3:07 Green pounced on the puck and gave his side a big boost moving forward.
Slovenia put in a good effort but once again came up short.
"Every loss is difficult, especially since we know what three opponents we still have to play," said netminder Kristan. "The last three games are very important for us. We were close again today, but it was again still too far. But the tournament isn't over, and hopefully something good will happen for us."